Zoning Board Approves Jazz Club Plans By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday December 16, 2005

Without discussion, the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board has approved plans to open a jazz club inside the UC Theatre building. 

Gloria Mendoza and Michael Govan were granted permission to transform the spacious interior into a dinner theater and jazz club with combined seating for 600. 

The landmarked building at 2036 University Ave. is Berkeley’s oldest surviving motion picture showcase, built in 1917 and designed by noted Berkeley architect James W. Plachek. 

The plans call for no changes to the structure’s exterior, which is the only portion of the building governed by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Ordinance. 


Landmark houses 

Two other landmarks were also discussed at last week’s meetings, the Ellen Blood and John Woolley houses, which developer John Gordon places to relocate on a lot he owns at the southwest corner of Regent Street and Dwight Way. 

The Ellen Blood House, listed as a city structure of merit, is a Queen Anne Victorian built in 1891 at 2526 Durant Ave., where a developer wants to build a five-story mixed-use project with ground floor commercial and four floors housing 44 apartments. 

The John Woolley House, built in 1876, sits on UC Berkeley-owned land at 2509 Haste St., one of five parcels near the northeast corner of Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street where Rasputin Music owner Ken Sarachan plans to build another mixed used residential-over-commercial project. 

Gordon stepped up with an offer to move both structures to his lot, and he says final plans may be ready for ZAB action within 60 days. 

“We like old buildings,” Gordon explained in a telephone interview. “The Blood House is in good condition, and we’ll be restoring the original wood exterior,” which is now buried beneath a layer of stucco. 

Preservation architect and former Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Burton Edwards is working on the plans, he said. 


Herbivore moving to Fine Arts Building 

ZAB members also approved a liquor license for a new restaurant, Herbivore, which will be opening in the Fine Arts Building at 2451 Shattuck Ave.  

Proprietor Adham Nasser said that after operating his business for nine years in San Francisco it was time to move to Berkeley, “which I always thought was a good fit.” 

Nasser said he expects to open his vegetarian restaurant in nine to 12 months.  


Pauline Bartolone contributed to this report.›